Ann and I are at a conference this week. We are hearing some amazing preaching – which is humbling and encouraging at the same time. Today we heard pastor and theologian, Kevin DeYoung preach on Luke 4:16-30. This is where Jesus teaches from the prophet Isaiah in the synagogue in his home town and his home town tries to throw him off a cliff. DeYoung had several excellent insights about the passage. One of them was that the Bible is filled with people and things pointing to something else. The prophets, like Isaiah, point to someone who is coming. The Old Testament sacrificial system, the Jewish festivals, the Tabernacle, the Temple, and countless other examples of things instituted by God can be listed that all pointed to something or someone else. Then Jesus came. Jesus was not a pointer; He was the point.
DeYoung’s observation that Jesus was the point reminded me of Sunday’s passage. Luke 17 describes eternal life: it is knowing the Father and knowing Jesus. Eternal life is life in relationship with the point that everything has pointed to: Jesus. How often do I make something else the point and Jesus is the means to get it? I want what Jesus has to give – heaven, forgiveness, a clean conscience – but I don’t want Jesus.
Lord, help me keep Jesus as the point.
By the way, the sermons here go for an hour or more. Be thankful that I won’t apply that piece of inspiration.
How to pray for FBC
Pray for unity in the church. I am being reminded again and again that our effectiveness in the world has a lot to do with how we love one another. Complaining about people behind their back might make you feel good, but it undermines what God wants to do in and through FBC. So does gossip. So does looking down on someone. So does harboring unforgiveness. So does misleading one another. You get the point. We are meant to be a picture of unity. We will disagree on many important issues: politics, economics, schooling choices, etc. But none of those issues are more important than unity.
Lord, help us to disagree and maintain unity. Help us to forgive. Help us to stop building ourselves up at someone else’s expense.
How to pray for our Community and our World
1 Kings 3 tells the story of Solomon deciding which of two women is a baby’s mother. He uses an unorthodox approach: he proposes dividing the baby in two. One woman is okay with that solution, the other is not. Solomon rightly concludes that the woman who would sacrifice so the baby could live must be the true mother. One speaker at the conference pointed out how the passage ends: the entire nation saw that “wisdom of God was in him to do justice.” He challenged me to pray that this would be true of our leaders. Let’s pray that they will be filled with God’s wisdom to do justice.